By the looks of the upcoming fall season, it looks like it’s time to dust off your Bhutanese festival clothes, everybody. If there is ever a unique travel opportunity or rare confluence of events that would make a trip extra-special, we like to let people know about it; this is one of those times. Thanks to the nature of the Bhutanese lunar calendar this year, two Tsechu festivals are running back-to-back in Wangdue and Thimphu from September 23-27.
Similar to no other country, and unfamiliar to even the most experienced world-traveler, Bhutan itself is the ultimate destination for travelers who crave rare experiences. Valuing its citizens’ harmony and happiness over economic growth, part of the government’s efforts to maintain its culture intact, and its environment pristine, has been limiting foreign travelers within its borders. Bhutan is an example of sustainable travel gone government-enforced. One can only tour Bhutan through a government-licensed operator, and many religious sites are off-limits to tourists. However when you visit this enigmatic land, you will become one of the few foreigners to witness its slow introduction to the modern world.
So you didn’t get your ticket to Coachella this year. So Stagecoach doesn’t line up with your work schedule. So Outside Lands isn’t really your scene. What if there was an alternative every year that rivaled the most popular international music festivals? What if it featured some of the best musical talent from all over the world? What if it fell in the middle of your eco tour that you conveniently started planning yesterday? Let us introduce you to the Fuji Rock Festival in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. Yes, that Japan.
Since 1997 when the headliners, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, legendarily played through a typhoon despite lead singer Anthony Kiedis suffering through a broken arm, the Fuji Rock Festival has welcomed western artists such as Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Muse, and Neil Young & Crazy Horse to headline every year. Named so because the first disastrous concert was set in the shadow of Mt. Fuji, the concert has since been set at a picturesque ski resort in Niigata during its summer off-season. Many Japanese music lovers take this as an opportunity to escape the island’s summer heat in the high mountains, and international travelers use it as the exclamation point at the end of their Japanese vacation.
A documentary film has been making its way around the office this week. This DVD has changed hands again and again, and we have all spent time witnessing a year in the life of a man named Feliciano and his young family. The film, Mi Chacra, or “My Land,” has been speaking to our company’s ethos in a unique way. Superbly filmed and scored largely with a traditional quena flute, the documentary manages to encompass the epic nature of the Andes mountains along with the very personal story of a family trying to make a life-changing decision. The story covers themes both personal and human, along with the larger issue facing all developing countries: that of rapid urban growth and shrinking rural populations. Beautiful scenery, and the exposure of a disappearing way of life come together to tell a story both foreign and familiar.
One of our travel specialists recently returned from his trip to Japan. He was kind enough to share some of his pictures and experiences with us! This is How We Travel.
March in Japan is an in-between month: winter is ending, but it’s still cold; spring is coming but the buds on the cherry trees are just perceptible. Japan is of course modern and old-fashioned at the same time - Tokyo is the epicenter of modernity, and amidst the concrete you’ll find architectural and design wonders. We flew into Tokyo, where we’d spend some time before heading into the mountains to visit some remote hot spring ryokans (traditional Japanese inns).
Every once in a while, a rare opportunity will present itself to visit a camp that would otherwise be unreachable. Last week, a cancellation at Galapagos Safari Camp created just that opportunity for you. Eight of their nine tents are available for reservation from December 20-24! The Galapagos Islands are an emerging popular destination for travelers during the holidays, and availability during that time is decidedly rare this close to December, so this is definitely reason to get excited!
You may remember that we’ve featured this particular camp before, as a green honeymoon destination. The Galapagos Safari Camp, located in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, is the first of its kind in many ways. The construction of the camp was inspired by the well-known African safari model, so its rooms are set under tents designed to blend into the environment. Both the camp’s central lodge and nine surrounding tents are open-air and offer views of the western islands of this volcanic archipelago.